49ers

DeForest Buckner has big expectations for himself, 49ers in 2019 season

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AP

DeForest Buckner has big expectations for himself, 49ers in 2019 season

After a breakout third season with the 49ers, DeForest Buckner already has set expectations for himself even higher. 

Buckner recorded a career-high 12 sacks, 17 tackles for a loss and 20 quarterback hits in 2018 while establishing himself as a leader on the defense. The 49ers acquired edge rusher Dee Ford in a trade with the Chiefs and drafted Nick Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft to bolster the pass rush.

That has Buckner antsy to get the pads on. 

Prior to the six-week break following mandatory minicamp, Buckner spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about why he couldn’t be more excited about what is to come for the team and himself in the upcoming season.  

“I’m very excited,” Buckner said. “I’m the happiest man on the team. The additions that we have, and the guys that we have already in the room, I mean, it’s going to be unbelievable. 

“We did a really good job in free agency and in the draft this year. Guys are coming back healthy and that was a big break the past couple of years. We had too many injuries.” 

Buckner explained how the added speed on the edge will give an advantage to the interior defensive linemen like himself. 

“Having Dee and Nick on the outside, forcing the quarterback to step up for all the guys we have in the interior, it’s going to be amazing for all of it to come to life. I’m just excited for that first preseason game, just to get that little taste." 

Buckner’s vision for himself still remains simple: improve. 

“Honestly, just to build off of the season I had last year,” Buckner said. “Every year I’m looking to get better. Kris Kocurek, our new d-line coach is helping me with the weaknesses that I have from last year and developing new techniques and new things to my game to improve myself. 

“He’s teaching me in the room, and on the field and I’m implementing it at practice, and I see it actually happening, coming to life. I’m excited to move forward, and for the season." 

[RELATED: Where 49ers' defense ranks compared to NFC West rivals]

With 10 wins since the arrival of head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, Buckner understands the importance of the team turning their record around. While he has expectations for himself, he has not lost sight of the big picture, and the ultimate goal. 

“Winning,” Buckner said. “That’s all I’m looking forward to, just winning. That’s the main thing. It’s a result-driven league and all anybody cares about is winning. That’s what we’re here for and it’s why we compete every day, every Sunday, Monday, Thursday. We’re all competitors and I just want to win this year.

“John and Kyle are doing a great job building the team that they want,” Buckner said. “I’m just excited to see everything come to fruition.”

Fantasy football waiver wire: 49ers' Deebo Samuel among Week 3 targets

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AP

Fantasy football waiver wire: 49ers' Deebo Samuel among Week 3 targets

Another week in the books.

With nothing but the Monday Night matchup remaining on the NFL's Week 2 slate, it's time to turn our attention to the waiver wire. There were several standout performances across the league, as well as some serious injuries to some key fantasy players.

The waiver wire presents your opportunity to capitalize on those developments and set your team up to continue its fast start, or to rebound before it's too late.

With that, here are four non-quarterbacks to keep in mind for waiver claims Tuesday morning, all of whom could be the missing link for your squad and are owned in fewer than 15 percent of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy leagues.

Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs WR

1 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 1 percent owned in ESPN

Patrick Mahomes has shown no signs whatsoever of slowing down, as the third-year quarterback lit up Oakland for 443 passing yards and four touchdowns in Kansas City's 28-10 road win on Sunday. He did all that without Tyreek Hill, who missed the game with a sternoclavicular joint injury. However, Demarcus Robinson did his best Hill impression.

Robinson hauled in six passes for 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders, pairing with rookie Mecole Hardman to give the Chiefs two downfield threats that Oakland struggled to keep up with. Given how explosive Kansas City's offense is, you know they're going to put up plenty of points on a weekly basis. Sammy Watkins takes over the No. 1 spot in Hill's absence, but Robinson made a very convincing argument for more playing time on Sunday. He'll likely be the top waiver add in your league.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins WR

2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 3 percent owned in ESPN

The Dolphins flat-out stink. There's no way around it.

After being shut out 43-0 by the Patriots on Sunday, Miami has now been outscored 102-10 over the first two weeks of the season. That is historically bad.

The Dolphins are inept on both sides of the ball, but from a fantasy perspective, that can have its benefits. Miami has been playing from behind all season, and there's no reason to expect that to change anytime soon. That means lots of passes, and as one of the most talent-poor teams in the league, the Dolphins simply don't have many pass-catchers worth rostering. Preston Williams, however, might be a different story.

While DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant both drew one more target, Williams led all Miami receivers with four receptions for 63 yards on Sunday. He now has at least five targets and three receptions in every game this season, and has accounted for Miami's lone touchdown. There aren't many Dolphins worth rostering in fantasy, but in deep leagues, Williams might qualify.

Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks TE

2 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 2 percent owned in ESPN

If you didn't grab one of the top-tier tight ends in the first few rounds of your fantasy draft, chances are you've experienced some uneven play from that position. Rookie T.J. Hockenson had an all-time performance in Week 1, but was an absolute dud in Week 2. Pittsburgh's Vance McDonald basically did the opposite.

So, if you're unhappy with the state of your tight end position, it might be worth taking a flier on Seattle's Will Dissly. The Seahawks tight end caught all five passes on which he was targeted Sunday for 50 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He won't be a consistent producer from week-to-week, but in a pinch, you could do a lot worse, particularly given the quarterback throwing him the ball.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers WR

13 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, 13 percent owned in ESPN

It remains to be seen if the 49ers have a true No. 1 receiver, but Deebo Samuel made the most convincing argument yet this season on Sunday against the Bengals.

San Francisco's second-round pick led the 49ers in targets, receptions and receiving yards against Cincinnati, hauling in five passes for 87 yards and a score. Jimmy Garoppolo looked considerably better in Week 2 than in Week 1, and he seemed to look for Samuel in key moments.

[RELATED: Why Jimmy G getting into early rhythm was key to 49ers' win]

Inconsistency is to be expected from a rookie, but given that Samuel has outplayed Dante Pettis over the first two weeks, it seems unlikely that his snap count will decrease anytime soon, especially after the offensive explosion San Francisco experienced against the Bengals. Kyle Shanahan is as good of a play-caller as there is in the NFL, and Samuel affords him plenty of flexibility in that department. Add Samuel as a WR4 that offers the potential for more.

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

49ers' new-attitude defense shows out vs. Bengals, holds key to wins

CINCINNATI — The 49ers' defense was overshadowed by an offense that put 41 points and 572 yards on the board against the Bengals, but it still had a Sunday not to forget.

San Francisco held Cincinnati to 316 yards in total offense, including a shockingly low 25 on the ground. Another 66 yards of that total came on the Bengals' final offensive play -- a garbage-time touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to John Ross. Take that away, and the Bengals' total offensive output was 250 yards as the 49ers rolled 41-17 at Paul Brown Stadium.

That one week after the 49ers held the Buccaneers to 17 points and 295 total yards in a season-opening road win.

Ronald Blair, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner all recorded quarterback sacks Sunday, and linebacker Kwon Alexander logged his first interception as a 49er and the seventh of his NFL career. The defense also racked up eight pass break-ups, with Alexander responsible for three, Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed for two apiece, and Jullian Taylor for one.

The 49ers' new attitude on defense is noticeable, and much of the credit for that goes to Alexander and defensive end Dee Ford being added to the lineup and, of course, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's presence.

Jimmy Garoppolo explained how unique the group is and how Alexander really has changed the mood.

"Yeah, Kwon's awesome, man," the 49ers quarterback said. "He really is. The defense as a whole, it’s a different attitude, and I’ve never been around a defense like that. When I turn the ball over and they hold them to a field goal and miss it, it just gives you so much more confidence in those guys. They played their asses off, and it’s incredible."

Alexander could be considered an instigator of sorts. He's always seen on the sideline with a lot of energy, and if any trash talk is happening on the field, you'd best believe that he's involved. He also takes full responsibility for second-year pro Fred Warner's vocal emergence this season.

[RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense in rout of Bengals]

Alexander believes motivation is cyclical, with all phases of the game keeping the energy high for each other. He thrives off it.

"Everybody buying in, doing what they got to do," Alexander said. "Offense doing what they got to do running the ball, D going out there making plays and turnovers ...

"Everybody was just feeding off each other, and once you do that, once you get a team feeding off each other and playing fast, you’re going to win a lot of games."

So, while the offense had a better showing Sunday, the defense is what could keep the 2-0 49ers' upward trajectory on course. Not only is the unit capable of helping pull out a win when the offense struggles, but the defense can alleviate pressure on Jimmy G and Co. to perform.